Review of ‘The Moon Stealers and the Quest for the Silver Bough’ by Tim Flanagan (May 2015):
Tim Flanagan’s The Moon Stealers and the Quest for the Silver Bough is the first of four books in the Moon Stealers series. This book (and presumably the rest of the series) offers an interesting mix of science fiction and fantasy told through two different story arcs. One centers on Steven Knight, an agent in the Unexplained Foreign Activity Department of Britain’s MI6. Unlike the FBI’s Fox Mulder of X-Files’ fame, he’s has spent most of his career doing paperwork debunking hoaxes – until mysterious meteorites are found in Parsley Bottom. The other thread focuses on a group of middle-school aged children from Parsley Bottom. While investigating the disappearance of a classmate, they meet Edgar, a peculiar older man with a unique connection to the past.
Thrilled with the opportunity to get into the field, Steven goes undercover to Parsley Bottom where he deploys the latest technology to probe the connection between the meteorites and a fast growing flesh eating microbe. Simultaneously, the children embark with Edgar on a quest to solve a riddle and reveal the location of the silver bough, which is an ancient key to unlocking the entrance to the fairy world. Mr. Flanagan skillfully switches action between the science and technology of Steven’s world to the fantasy and magic of Edgar’s as the plot twists the two opposing aspects together. He cleverly creates cliff-hangers in each tale just as he deftly drops one thread to re-enter the next.
Mindfully written for tweens there is no foul language or sexual content of any kind. The Moon Stealers and the Quest for the Silver Bough is fast paced and features a lot of action. There are a fair number of deaths with some descriptions that are just detailed enough to elicit an ‘eew’ from most readers, but not quite gruesome enough to bring on nightmares. If it was a movie its mild slime factor would earn a PG rating. With that qualification, I recommend The Moon Stealers and the Quest for the Silver Bough to any tweens (and their parents) interested in a compelling mix of fantasy and science fiction.
Amazon link for The Moon Stealers and the Quest for the Silver Bough